SOUR SOIL: The 17 hectare acidic scald on the Clybucca floodplain is evident in this aerial view.
SOUR SOIL: The 17 hectare acidic scald on the Clybucca floodplain is evident in this aerial view. T.TuckerUNSW

Project knowledge will lead to further soil restoration

A RESEARCH project on the Clybucca floodplain between Macksville and Kempsey will help find remedial solutions when dealing with acid sulfate soils.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries allocated $365,000 to North Coast Local Land Services to deliver a strategy complete with engineering design options to improve water management.

DPI Fisheries manager Charlotte Jenkins said the research scope was multi-focused, aiming to provide plans that would incorporate improvements to the current drainage network for increased productivity on floodplain farm land.

"It will also aim to neutralise acidic conditions across a large area of Mayes and Doughboy Swamps, improve freshwater wetland condition, and rehabilitate estuarine habitat,” she said.

"During the development of the plans, extensive landholder and community engagement and detailed water movement modelling will be undertaken to achieve these outcomes.

"Infrastructure such as floodgates constructed mainly in the early 1970s resulted in the exposure of acid sulfate soils in the Clybucca with wider impacts on the estuary.

"This includes loss of fish habitat and an impact on aquatic life such as fish and oysters.”

The Water Research Laboratory at the University of NSW has been engaged to prepare the strategy and to ensure all stakeholders' concerns were addressed.

The DPI sees the remediation strategy as a critical step towards addressing one of the biggest environmental issues in the Kempsey Shire and the North Coast region.

"Clybucca backswamp is one of the largest acid sulfate soil impacted landscapes on Australia's east coast,” Ms Jenkins said.

"Remediation will benefit the whole community, generate jobs and make significant improvements to the local environment.”  



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